How to Make the Most of TD Rewards Points for Travel and More
Nowadays, most Canadian banks offer a comprehensive loyalty rewards program, and TD Bank is no different. In this article, I’ll cover the TD Rewards program in detail. I’ll explain the key benefits, let you know who I think it’s best suited for, and show you how to get the most out of TD Rewards. I’ll also touch on Expedia for TD, TD Rewards full-service travel provider, saving most of the details for a full review in the coming weeks. Ready? Let’s dive in.
Introducing TD Rewards
With the TD Rewards program, Canada’s second-largest bank aims for maximum flexibility, by making it easy for clients to redeem points in a variety of ways. TD Rewards is a credit card loyalty program, meaning that you earn points when you spend money with a TD rewards credit card. As with most bank loyalty rewards programs, the greatest value comes from redeeming points towards travel.
TD Rewards at a Glance
- Free rewards program, easy to understand
- Flexible travel booking via Expedia for TD, or Book Any Way Travel
- Numerous redemption options
- Ideal for frequent travellers, students, small business owners
- Credit card-only rewards program
- Reduced value for non-travellers
- To maximize earning potential, must book travel online
How to Earn TD Rewards Points
TD Rewards is a credit card-only rewards program, which means that in order to participate, you must choose one of four TD rewards credit cards. While this won’t appeal to everyone (not everyone likes using credit cards), it does make for a straight forward, easy to understand rewards program.
I’ve provided a detailed summary of each rewards credit card further down, but the general idea is that whenever you make a purchase with your credit card, you earn points. Some cards earn points at a faster rate, however, so it’s good to know how each card works, in order to maximize your earning potential.
Best Credit Cards to Earn TD Rewards
TD has no less than four credit cards with which to earn TD points. The top of the line card is the D First Class Travel Visa Infinite, a premium rewards card which happens to be among the top travel credit cards in Canada. The TD Platinum Travel Visa card offers mid-range benefits for a lower annual fee, while the entry-level TD Rewards card offers points without an annual fee. Business customers have the option of the TD Business Travel Visa. Let’s take a closer look at the features and benefits of each of these cards.
TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite
The TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite card is, in my mind, TD’s top travel credit card, and the best way to earn TD travel points. Aeroplan members may disagree, as they’ll likely prefer the TD Aeroplan Infinite Visa. What makes the First Class Travel Visa Infinite stand out, however, is its combination of high earning potential (up to 4.5%), suite of travel insurance products, and incredibly flexible redemption options.
When you book travel online (Expedia for TD), using the First Class Travel Visa Infinite, you’ll earn a whopping 9 rewards points for every dollar spent. If points are redeemed for travel using the same method, it equates to a 4.5% earnings rate, which is very competitive. I should point out that there are no blackouts and no travel restrictions. And because TD Rewards has no airline affiliation, you can use your points for travel on any carrier. You can also book hotels, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages, and more. TD travel points can be used to cover the full cost of travel, including fees and taxes.
Travel insurance includes Emergency Travel Medical, Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption, Auto Rental Collision/Loss Damage, Travel Accident, and Delayed and Lost Baggage Protection. The card also features an emergency travel assistance service, as well as discounts on Priority Pass Membership in over 1200 VIP airport lounges across the globe. There is currently a very generous introductory offer worth up to $570, but it does expire shortly, on Dec. 1, 2019.
- Limited time offer, up to 90,000 rewards points, 1st year fee waived
- $120 annual fee; additional cards are $50
- 19.99% purchase interest; 22.99% cash advances
- Earn 9 points for every dollar spent online through Expedia for TD
- Earn 3 TD Rewards points/dollar for regular purchases
- Annual minimum income: $60,000 or $100,000/household
- Welcome bonus of 20,000 TD Rewards points
- Emergency Travel Medical Insurance
- Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
- Delayed and Lost Baggage Insurance
- Priority Pass membership discount
The TD Business Travel Visa
Business customers can earn TD Rewards for business purchases with the TD Business Travel Visa. The rewards earned with this card are identical to the earnings on the TD First Class Visa Infinite, although there is a slight difference in the annual fee. The Business Travel has an annual fee of $149 ($49 for additional cards). If you’re self-employed, using this card for business purchases can be a great way to earn points for travel.
TD Platinum Travel Visa
The TD Platinum Travel Visa works much like the TD First Class Infinite Visa, but with less point earning potential. Cardholders earn 5 TD Rewards points for every dollar of travel booked online through Expedia for TD and 3 points for travel booked over the phone. Grocery purchases and recurring bill payments are worth 3 points per dollar spent, while all other purchases are worth 2 points.
The benefit of this card is its lower annual fee ($89, additional cards $35) and lack of an annual income requirement. The card also comes with a suite of travel insurance, although it doesn’t include the valuable Emergency Travel Medical or Trip Cancellation/Interruption coverage that’s offered with the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite.
- $89 annual fee; additional cards are $35
- 19.99% purchase interest; 22.99% cash advances
- Earn 5 points for every dollar spent online through Expedia for TD
- Earn 3 TD Rewards points/dollar for grocery purchases, recurring bill payments
- Earn 2 points for regular purchases
- Limited travel insurance options available
- Priority Pass membership discount
TD Rewards Visa
If you’re looking for a credit card that earns points towards travel but you don’t want the annual fee, the TD Rewards Visa is the card for you. This rewards card will let you earn TD points, albeit at a slower pace than either the TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite, or the TD Platinum Travel Visa. With the TD Rewards Visa, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent online through Expedia for TD, 2 points per dollar over the phone, and 2 points/dollar for money spent on groceries, restaurants and fast food purchases, and recurring bill payments charged to your card. All other purchases are only worth 1 point per dollar spent.
- No annual fee
- No annual minimum income requirement
- 3 points per dollar spent online at Expedia for TD
- 2 points per dollar for groceries, restaurant/fast food purchases, recurring bill payments
- 1 point per dollar for all other purchases
- 19.99% purchases interest; 22.99% cash advances
- Purchase security and extended warranty protection
The Value of TD Rewards Points
The value of TD Rewards points varies, depending on how they are redeemed. You’ll get the most value when you use your points to book travel, and the least when you use them to order merchandise through TD Rewards. Using 10,000 points as a benchmark, here’s the dollar value you can expect to receive with each redemption option:
- Travel via Expedia for TD: $50
- Travel via Book Any Way: $40
- Education Credit: $40
- Cash Credit (to credit card): $25
- Gift Cards: $25
- Merchandise: varies per item, but usually < $25
I like to break point values down to a single point, to determine the cents per point value (CCP), which is something I’ll refer to later on. To do this, simply divide the dollar value for 10,000 points, by 10,000, to get your answer.
TD Rewards CCP (for Expedia for TD) = $50/10,000 = .005 cents per point
TD Rewards CCP (for gift cards) = $25/10,000 = .0025 cents per point
How to Redeem TD Rewards Points
As with other bank loyalty rewards programs, TD Rewards points can be redeemed a number of ways. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll get the most bang for your buck when you use your points towards travel, but you can also purchase gift cards, merchandise, apply for a statement credit on your Visa account, or redeem points towards education. Let’s take a closer look at the options and the redemption value for each.
Travel With Expedia for TD
Booking travel through Expedia for TD will get you full value for your TD Rewards points. Expedia for TD is a full-service travel provider and can be accessed both online or over the telephone. You’ll get $50 credit for every 10,000 points you redeem for travel, which is the equivalent of .005 cents per point (CCP). With Expedia for TD, you can book flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages, and more. Points can be redeemed against the full cost of travel, including fees and taxes.
Book Any Way Travel
Sometimes you’ll find a better deal on a different website, or directly through the travel provider ie. airline, hotel. Book Any Way Travel allows you to use your TD Rewards points for travel you’ve booked anywhere, as long as you’ve made your purchase upfront with a TD rewards credit card. Simply book the travel, and as soon as the purchase appears on your credit card (3 or 4 business days), redeem your points against the spending amount.
You can do this over the phone, or online yourself, through your TD Rewards account. As with Expedia for TD, your points can cover the entire purchase, including fees and taxes. This is great for travel options not offered by Expedia, such as Airbnb, or an RV rental.
You can redeem points for gift cards via the TD Rewards site. A $25 gift card will require 10,000 TD Reward points, a $50 card, 20,000 points and so on. That translates to a value of .25 cents per point, or CCP. Gift cards are available from a wide range of retailers, including brands like Cineplex, Costco, Canadian Tire, Cabelas, Esso, Apple etc.
You can shop for merchandise through TD Rewards, by using your points to get a wide range of items for free. The drawback is that points for merchandise are worth less than for travel, but there is a huge number of items to choose from. I’ve listed a few of these below, to give you an idea of what’s available. Redeeming for merchandise can be a great way to shop for gifts for family or friends.
- Apple Airpods Pro 107,282 TD Points
- Bose Portable Home Speaker 171,385
- Breville Stainless Steel Blender 218,973
- Fitbit Versa 2 97,784
- Bulova Women’s Classic Watch 88,268
- Braun Beard Trimmer 17,495
- Teal Iced Tea Press 12,165
If you’re not using your rewards points for travel, or to purchase gift cards or merchandise, you can always apply a cash credit, also known as a statement credit, to your TD credit card balance. The cash credit redemption value is the same as with a gift card (.25 CCP), and slightly higher than what you would receive on merchandise. It usually takes about 5-7 business days for the credit to appear on your Visa account.
TD Rewards has a redemption option designed specifically for students. You can transfer your TD Rewards points to HigherEd Points, which can then be redeemed against the cost of tuition at a large number of Canadian universities and colleges. You must redeem in blocks of $250, so you’ll need at least 62,500 TD Rewards points for a transfer. Still, this is a great way for students to benefit from credit card rewards.
How Does TD Rewards Stack Up?
When it comes to flexibility, especially for travel booking, TD Rewards is tough to beat. You can use Expedia for TD, or book travel on your own, knowing that you can redeem your points after the fact. It’s also an easy program to understand. You don’t have to worry about clipping coupons, or scanning online codes to maximize your earnings. I also like that the program includes a business Visa card, which will appeal to small business owners.
If there’s a drawback, it’s that you really do need the top of the line, TD First Class Travel Visa Infinite card to maximize rewards. And with an annual fee of $120, not to mention the minimum income requirement ($60,000/$100,000), not everyone will be interested, or able to qualify. Overall, another solid rewards program from a Canadian bank.